Contact: Mandy Pattinson
Declarations of Interest
a) Agenda Item 4 - Ian Parry – Wife works for the Staffordshire Women’s Aid.
b) Agenda Item 4 – David Brookes - Member of the Staffordshire Agricultural Society.
c) Agenda Item 4 – John Francis - Member of the Staffordshire Agricultural Society.
a) 10 January 2020
b) 23 January 2020
c) 9 March 2020
RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meetings held on the 10 January, 23 January and 9 March 2020 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
To consider the Cabinet report of the 15 April 2020 with specific questioning on:
a) What actions the County Council has taken with regards to Covid 19 – including re-deployment; protection of employees especially front line staff and social workers; and actions to reduce social isolation and welfare within our communities.
b) Social Care and Health from a County Council responsibility; actions and plans going forward including care homes; MASH; and Domestic violence.
c) Children Services, including looked after children; education and issues with nutrition and social care.
d) Health – what NHS measures are in place; current capacity; looking forward for vulnerable groups and the planned NHS response for the immediate and short term future.
The Leader of the Council presented the last report considered by Cabinet on 15th April which gave the current position regarding the Covid-19 crisis. Particular attention was drawn to the following:
· The main centre for food distribution was the Stafford showground which distributed parcels to District Hubs for local delivery.
· Care home providers were encouraged to source their own stocks of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). However, the County Council had stocks that could be supplied in emergencies. Of the £23m Government emergency response fund received by the County Council, £1.5m had been spent on PPE.
· Schools and nurseries had a register of vulnerable children who were eligible to attend school however take up had been low.
· All vulnerable children who were not attending school were being visited or contacted by either the school or designated social workers.
· Restrictions on bus passes had been relaxed so that older people could travel to shops earlier in the day when they were less busy.
· Since the Cabinet meeting on 15 April, the Governments Growth Hub scheme had provided £0.5m in small grants for employers with less than 9 employees.
· Covid-19 testing sites had been set up in Stoke and Burton. Mobile sites were due soon and these would be added to the national list.
· Data sharing between the Council, partners and central government had improved and it was hoped that this would continue.
· In Staffordshire, the Hardship fund was available for council tax relief.
· Small business grants were available. The Districts and Borough councils were administering this.
· Savings that had been envisaged during this financial year, such as those in Children’s services had been put on hold. Some works such as the Weston extension on the I 54 South Staffordshire projects were continuing.
· It was envisaged that ways of working for most businesses would change in the future. Companies who were dependant on one source or contract had felt the crisis more than companies who had been able to quickly respond to the change.
Following a question on whether there had been any change to the number of instances of theft of machinery or vehicles in rural areas or vandalism in villages, it was reported that the Police would have to provide detailed information on crime but as far as the council was aware, there had not been an increase in the reporting rate of fly tipping and where it had been reported, it appeared to be in the usual hotspots.
The Leader thanked all staff, particularly care workers and the Health, Safety and Well-being team who had gone above and beyond their duties during the current crisis. Thanks was also given to all elected members for their part in promoting the Covid-19 Fund in local communities. One third of the organisations who had applied had already seen their applications approved.
A question was asked on the number of shielded individuals in the county and getting food packs to groups in most need. It was reported that the focus was on the ... view the full minutes text for item 39.
Work Programme Suggestions and date of the next meeting
Date of the next meeting – 8 June 2020 at 2.00pm.
The Committee had originally intended to consider Health services and their response to Covid-19 at the 4 May meeting. However, given the short notice and the number of issues that the Committee was considering which fell under the control of the Council, it was agreed that Health/NHS issues would be deferred to another meeting of this Committee towards the end of May. This meeting would also consider the Financial impact of the crisis. Should the 8 June meeting, previously reserved for call-in, not be needed it would be cancelled.